There is a tradition of service throughout schools in Pettis County and the Sedalia School District 200 teaches the lessons of service to others each day.
Those lessons are not only found at the middle school, and Smith-Cotton junior and senior high schools, but often they begin at the elementary level.
The students at Heber Hunt Elementary continued their practice of helping others Tuesday, when the school hosted its second annual Day of Service.
“There are several reasons why we do this,” Principal Brendan Eisenmenger said. “I think it is very important for the students to learn the importance of giving back.
“There are so many generous individuals and gracious donors who have helped not only our school but the district and it’s important to show that we appreciate their kindness and efforts by giving back to others,” he added. “For many of our students this gives them the chance to see parts of our community that they may never know existed or what services these organizations provide throughout Sedalia.”
Each grade discussed ideas for possible projects before the plans were discussed and finalized.
“The students in each class came up with the ideas for the projects and most of the work for each project was organized and done by the students,” Eisenmenger said. “They do a lot of the work and planning for each project.”
Eisenmenger added that a day such as Tuesday could not be accomplished without the help and support of what he calls a great staff of teachers and employees at Heber Hunt.
“Our teachers and staff are simply the best,” Eisenmenger said. “On a daily basis, they are teaching our students the lessons of being respectful, responsible, safe learners.
“We start that from the first day they come to school,” he added. “It happens before we begin some of the academic teaching because it is a such an important life lesson.”
The day began with a kick-off assembly where the students were reminded of the expectations for the day and met a special guest to help inspire them throughout the day — Legacy, a service-learning dog from the La Monte School District.
Students in the mixed age class have been raising funds throughout the school year in the hopes of obtaining Heber Hunt’s own service-learning dog.
Students in kindergarten spent the day at Liberty Park helping to clean the park by picking up trash and cleaning the playground equipment.
Once they completed the task at hand, the students were given some time to play at the park.
The first grade students toured the Sedalia Police Department in downtown Sedalia and the Sedalia Fire Department on 16th Street where they learned about the work the men and women who serve in those departments do on a daily basis.
“Our first graders also wanted to go to Fairview Nursing Home to spend time with the residents,” Eisenmenger said. “They brought them each a flower pot they had decorated.”
The second graders went in groups and spent their time at the Sedalia Animal Shelter where they discovered the services provided animals who are waiting for adoption.
“The second grade students sponsored some dress up days throughout the year,” Eisenmenger said. “If they brought in some cat or dog food or blankets or supplies the shelter needed they could dress up on one of our spirit days then they donated those items to the shelter.”
Third graders took part in what they called “Share the Love Day.”
“The third graders also went to a care facility and spent their day visiting the residents at the Sylvia G. Thompson Residential Care Facility,” Eisenmenger said. “Even though our fourth grade didn’t leave the building they took part in an important project as well.
“After learning about blood disorders and the importance of blood donations, that grade decided they wanted to host a blood drive,” he added. “Their goal is to collect 30 units of blood (Tuesday) afternoon.”
Eisenmenger showed the students how much he believes in giving back by rolling up his sleeves and donating a pint of blood to help the cause.
When the students returned from their trips, they were rewarded with a wrap-up assembly where they watched a video presentation from photos taken at the day’s activities.
“Our assembly at the end of the day is a way for us to showcase all of the positives that the students were able to experience today,” Eisenmenger said. “(Tuesday) was a way to reward the students for all of their work and say thank you for the efforts and service of others.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484